Bulls-eye cardinalfish

The Bulls-eye or Deepsea cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus, is a deepwater cardinalfish of the family Epigonidae. It can be found in most temperate oceans worldwide, at depths of between (75 and 1200 m). Its length is between (30 and 75 cm).

The Bulls-eye is a fairly elongated deepwater species having a blunt snout, long caudal peduncle, two rounded dorsal fins the second of which is approximately mirrored by the anal fin, and a lower jaw slightly protruding beyond the upper jaw. Very large eyes dominate the head, and the mouth is full of minute teeth in each jaw and on the roof of the mouth.

Bulls-eyes are slow swimmers and live near the bottom, feeding off small planktonic animals.

Coloration is an iridescent black or violet-brown with a black mouth and gill cavity. It is the most abundant of the deep bottom-living epigonids and was probably the first well known deepwater fish.

Illustration by Dr Tony Ayling